ZocdocAnswersHow should you treat dark spots after chicken pox?

Question

How should you treat dark spots after chicken pox?

My daughter is five and just recovered from chicken pox. She has several very dark spots on her face where she had prominent bumps, and the dark spots just don't seem to be fading. What should I do?

Answer

The phenomenon you are describing is something called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Basically, this is a normal reaction of the skin to an infection, trauma, or other damage in which as part of the healing process pigmented cells called melanocytes migrate into the healing area. This gives the skin a darker appearance. Fortunately, virtually all cases of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation get better on their own. This can, however, require weeks to months. The best way to speed healing is to promote general health of your daughter's skin. In other words, apply a good sun screen when she is out in the sun and use a good skin moisturizer to keep her skin supple. Other than this, no specific treatment is needed. Sometimes, in cases in which the post inflammatory hyperpigmentation does not fade, additional medical treatments can be tried. The application of topical steroid creams is one such common treatment. However, this should never be done without talking to your pediatrician, as steroid creams can cause thinning of the skin of the face if applied for too long a time. Other treatments for hyperpigmentation, such as chemical peels and bleaching creams, are commonly used in adults but are generally not appropriate for the sensitive skin of small children.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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